How do we make the Work From Home set-up work for us?

Before this pandemic, there was probably a point when we were stuck in the grueling Metro Manila traffic, thinking of how better life would be if we can just stay at home and work there instead of going through the daily commute or paying rent that takes a significant amount of our salary just to avoid getting into suffocating MRT carts on the way home.   But working from home is not as easy as we thought it would be, especially when the circumstances that drove us into this situation is a pandemic! So what are the things that we can adapt to make the Work from Home set-up work for us?

Here are some advice that we think can be helpful for employees who are still adjusting to the work from home set-up:

1.) Make sure to have an official working area. And we hope that it’s not the place where you sleep. Setting up a small desk or a corner where you put your laptop,  planner, sticky notes and basically everything you have that’s related to work conditions your brain to associate that particular space to your job which makes it easier for you to switch from work-mode in the morning to rest mode at night. Having no space for work blurs the line between the two and makes it hard  for us to focus when we have to work and rest when we’re off hours.

2.) Create a routine that works for you. Start your day with coffee, tea, milk or a breath of fresh air by your windowsill.  Making a structure to our day to day lives is a common denominator that people who work from home have, especially now that the farthest place that we can go to is the gate in our house or the talipapa where we have our occasional trips to. But, planning daily schedules, exercising daily routines and writing to do lists can help us with that. These simple activities serve as a mental guide that help us get back on track when we’re spacing out or worrying about what’s happening outside and what could happen in the future.

3.) Keep the connection with your colleagues. Don’t you miss all those times when you would all gather around the pantry area for break time or eat together around that big table in your office talking about the latest Netflix series or laughing at a meme going around on the internet? There may be no pantry where you can gather for now but you can still do that. Chat with your colleagues during your break time and use the latest video call applications to make the interaction more real time.  

As sociologists would say, humans are social animals and a factor that could keep us going even through times like this is the regular dose of interaction that we get with our friends. So, go on. Don’t be shy to say hi even when it’s not about work. 

4.) Maintain reliable communication with your teammates.  Steady communication with your teammates gives way for more efficient collaboration and more time for other tasks on your To-Do list.  Check out all the new platforms out there that can make your online meeting go smoothly.


5.) Write in a journal. Writing is  another simple activity that can help us put structure in our system.  Just pick out one of the empty notebooks lying in your drawer and start writing thoughts lurking in your mind. You don’t have to write a whole essay about it, just write what’s on your mind to help you sort your thoughts. This can help you understand yourself, how you’re doing, what you’re feeling, and the things that you need to do to attend to your needs. 

6.) Know your strengths and weaknesses. Another benefit to writing in your journal regularly is helping you get in touch with your inner self and understand the areas that you’re already good at and the those that you still need to work on.  Which aspects of your job do you think can you do more easily and which do you find challenging? Let your boss or your teammates know so that they are aware of the situation that you are in. At the same time, being self-aware helps you understand how to deal with your tasks in a way that is more efficient for you. 

7.)  Keep the discipline. Try as much as you can to stick to your routine and make a habit out of the simple actions that you think can make you feel good and help you achieve your tasks . Remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic,and it’s understandable to feel stressed with all that’s going on around us. And even though we are all aiming to keep things normal, in reality,  nothing is. So while being productive is a goal for many, we should also make it a goal to keep the balance and not push ourselves beyond the limits to keep ourselves from burning out. 


These are just some of the things that we can do to make working from home work in the months to come. We all have our own situations and it’s different for all of us. Some may find it better to work from home and some may find it harder and more challenging. The best thing to do is to be aware of the situation that you are in and try to look for ways that could work for you. It’s not easy establishing structures especially when there is no one else imposing it on us but ourselves. Making a habit out of these simple ways and being comfortable about it will definitely take time but as long as we try everyday even with small steps, we can make it. 



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